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11:00 am – 5:00 pm
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Sunday

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The Academy will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Planetarium will be closed Sep. 22, 23, 24

From the Stacks 

August 28, 2014

Artist in Residence – T Edward Bak


profile_bak
T EDWARD BAK was born in Denver, but is drawn to travel and frequently migrates throughout North America. He began WILD MANa graphic novel about the voyages of Georg Steller,after exploring Southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage. Since then he has conducted research in the Aleutian archipelago and St. Petersburg, Russia. His stories have been featured in The Oregon History Comics series, Drawn and Quarterly Showcase, The Best American Comics 2008, The Graphic Canon, and MOME, where WILD MAN was originally serialized.

Bak’s research and interest in the natural history of the Aleutians, the Era of Discovery, and his ability to convey  this complex history to a wide audience made him a perfect match for a One Truth, Many Lies artist residency.  The artists chosen for the residency share their work with the public through programs on the public floor of the California Academy of Sciences.

project lab

Museum visitors watch live drawing in the Project Lab.

in the project lab

T Edward Bak drawing ornithological specimens in the Project Lab.

On Friday the 6th of July, Bak worked in the Academy’s Project Lab, located on the public floor of the museum. Utilizing specimens from the Ornithology and Mammalogy Collection, Bak showcased his research and illustration skills to the museum visitors.

skull sketch

Bak’s drawing of a sea lion skull from the Academy’s Skulls exhibit.

specimen research

Bak paints specimens from the Naturalist Center collection.

library research

Bak conducting library research.

 

Over the weekend, bak was able to do more research of voyages of discovery. From the Academy Library’s Rare Book Collection, Bak was able to view expedition narratives from Mark Catesby and William Dampier.

connect with a scientist

Bak signs a copy of his graphic novel, Island of Memory, for a young museum visitor.

On Sunday, Bak participated in the Academy’s renowned Connect with a Scientist Program, speaking about his research and taking questions from members of the public.

For information on upcoming workshops and museum events, click here.

One Truth, Many Lies: A New View of Art & Natural History Collections is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. www.imls.gov

-writing and photos by Diane T Sands.

 


June 19, 2014

Science in Action at Odd Salon

On Tuesday June 24th, our own Kelly Jensen (Digital Production Assistant) will be giving a talk about the Academy Archives as part of Odd Salon. Topics will include our recent digitization and preservation projects, particularly the film reels of the Academy’s 1950s-era television show, Science in Action.

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Science in Action was one of the first television shows to present science in an entertaining fashion, with a different guest each week to explain topics as diverse as “Exploring Mars,” “Muscles,” or “Trout Lore – Fact and Fancy.” Hosted by Earl S. Herald, director of the Steinhart Aquarium, the show was a popular institution in the Bay Area and paved the way for later programs like NOVA, Connections, and Cosmos.

SIA_opossum

In an effort to preserve the films, we are currently in the process of digitizing as many as we can, both to create digital surrogates, and to make the programs viewable by the public. We’re very grateful to the California Audiovisual Preservation Project for their support in digitizing these films; with their help we expect to have 30 more episodes available soon!

 

Several episodes of Science in Action can now be watched at Internet Archive and on the California Academy of Sciences’ YouTube channel. Don’t miss the Animal of the Week at the end of each program!

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Odd Salon (“Learn Something Weird”) is a twice-monthly evening of short talks on broad topics such as “Rogue,” “Lost,” and “Secret.” Kelly’s talk will add a bit of insider museum lore to “Preserved.”

 


Filed under: Academy History,Archives,Library News,Science in Action — Archives & Special Collections @ 11:09 pm

May 2, 2014

Artist in Residence – Monika Lea Jones

 

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stingraypainting2smaller

San Francisco based artist Monika Lea Jones never completely divided herself between the seemingly separate artistic and scientific minds. Compositions featuring animals and celestial objects are rendered using the bright colors of paint, photography and other digital means. Monika is inspired by both her current urban environment and nature and seeks to bridge these worlds by creating fantastical dreamlike images that illuminate the modern landscape.

It is precisely these characteristics that made Monika a perfect choice for a One Truth, Many Lies: a New View of Art & Natural History Collections artist residency.  The chosen artists share their work with the public through a hands-on workshop and other programs on the public floor of the museum.

On Saturday, April 26, 2014, Jones led a workshop showcasing her technique of acrylic painting directly on Plexiglas.  Using vibrant hues to highlight the equally vibrant nudibranchs (sea slugs), Jones also showed footage she shot of live local nudibranch species. See images below.

casnudibranchpeeps

Workshop participants show off their nudibranch paintings

Then on Sunday, April 26, Monika invited those visiting the museum to come up to the Living Roof and learn how stingrays glide through the water. Over 100 participants made their own stingray kite out of recycled paper and then launched them into the sky!

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Sting ray kites fly from the Living RoofIMG_20140427_132030csastnpeeps

In addition to her time sharing her artistic knowledge and enthusiasm for science with the visiting public, the residency also allowed Jones some time to research her next work in the Academy’s specimen collection. Monika chose to spend time in the botany herbarium sketching and painting.

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Monika shows off her rough sketches of botanical specimens.

For information on upcoming workshops and museum events, click here.

One Truth, Many Lies: A New View of Art & Natural History Collections is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. www.imls.gov


November 12, 2013

Introducing: One Truth, Many Lies

(c) 2013 Diane T Sands

(c) 2013 Diane T Sands

One Truth, Many Lies: A New View of Art & Natural History Collections, a new Artist Residency Program at the California Academy of Sciences is seeking applications from West Coast visual artists for residencies in the spring/summer of 2014.

Deadline to enter December 13, 2013

Goals of the Residency

  • To connect visual artists and museum visitors in a lively discussion of the intersection of art and science;
  • To create programming and artwork that focuses on novel use of natural history collections as part of the artistic process.
  • To increase collections use by nontraditional communities;
  • To provide access to natural history library and research collections for artists to utilize in the creation of a body of work.

Selected artists will be required to present two programs during their residency, at least one of which must be a public educational program: A lecture or demonstration designed for the museum floor with general audiences in mind; And a hands-on workshop or other class offered free of charge to the public, and optimized for individuals to create and work collaboratively with the visiting artist. Programs will be arranged at scheduled times Thursdays through Sundays.

Significantly, artists will have at least one day to interact with researchers at the Academy and work with the research collections housed in the Academy’s Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability.

For more information about the residency and how to apply go to:  http://research.calacademy.org/opportunities/OTML

This Residency is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

This Residency is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

 


Filed under: Library News,Scientific Illustration,Smackdown — Dsands @ 10:23 pm

January 3, 2013

Ecuador exhibit up in Library Reading Room

Gerald and Buff Corsi (c) California Academy of Sciences

by Mollie Cueva-Dubkoski, Careers in Science Intern

Biodiversity and endemism in the northeastern section of the Amazon is off the charts. The rich diversity of flora and fauna many scientists attribute to the warmer climate of this region during the repeated Pleistocene ice ages that provided shelter to organisms. Scientists estimate there are between 9,000 to 12,000 species of vascular plants, 600 species of birds, 500 species of fish, and 120 species of mammals in and around Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park. This exhibit highlights some of that diversity, the history of European exploration in Ecuador, and the current issue of crude oil that threatens this diversity.

I spent many weeks deciding what to include in the exhibit: perhaps crude oil in a jar? Or maybe a spread of taxidermied animals to demonstrate the diversity of Amazonian mammals? I finally decided on a varied collection of library materials to juxtapose two elements of my research that interested me most: Ecuador’s biodiversity, and crude oil’s effect on the Amazon. If you visit the Reading Room, you will see a sketch of the Andean Wax Palm (Ceroxylon alpinum), drawn by Aime Bonpland,who traveled with the noted naturalist Alexander von Humboldt during the first scientific exploration of the Americas. This book was one of two I included from the library’s vast collection to demonstrate the history of science in Ecuador. In the other case, I have included a map that illustrates the territory most affected by oil production, and a picture of where my family lives in Ecuador. A final piece that finished off the exhibit were the specimens the Entomology Department and the Ornithology Departments generously loaned me. In the left glass case there are several shiny Green-Gold Scarab Beetles (Chrysophora chrysochlora) and a lovely Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) specimen that boldly demonstrate what words cannot—how beautiful and quintessential these species are to the Amazon. Working with these three research departments and choosing specimens that highlighted my research enabled me to see how research collections, whether used for a museum exhibit or as evidence for a scientific study, are invaluable to the scientific world.

Arranging specimens in the case. photo: Y. Bustos

Diane Sands (left) and myself laying out an exhibit case. photo: Yolanda Bustos.


Filed under: Connecting Content,Exhibits,Library News,Rare Books,Research — Dsands @ 8:26 pm

October 31, 2012

When I Say Ecuador, You Say Darwin!

H. Vannoy Davis © California Academy of Sciences.

By Mollie Cueva-Dabkoski, Careers in Science intern

I am trapped in the depths of a database. I stare at the computer monitor, my fingers paused over the keyboard, until I finally type “crude oil AND Ecuador” into the search box. Results: 61 pages, 25 articles displayed on each page. For weeks, this has been my experience while combing through the many academic databases of articles as I try to decide upon the research project I will curate in the Academy’s Reading Room. Before working in the library as part of my Careers in Science internship, I did not really acknowledge the grueling and manual labor integral to research. Searching through dense databases, phrasing research topics correctly to find articles, switching topics because not enough research can be found — simply learning how to search for something on the Internet or in a library has been harder than I thought, but supremely validating.

I continued my research and finally after a few weeks of researching, switching topics, and researching more, I knew what I wanted to curate: an exhibit on Ecuador. Of course! It seemed obvious! Most people in the scientific community know Ecuador in relation to the Galapagos. (When I say Ecuador, you say Darwin!) I, too, have that connotation. Yet Ecuador is an important country to me not only because of its scientific merit, its evolutionary history, its collection of endemic and wonderfully odd flora and fauna, and the smorgasbord of different terrain all snugly fitted into a country about the size of Colorado, but because of the personal connection I have with Ecuador. I was born in Ecuador, and frequently visit. Throughout my childhood, I learned about biodiversity in school, and then visited Ecuador, where the science I had learned about lived and breathed — to the Amazon where thick anacondas slept in coiled mounds after their meals, and bright fish flicked in the tropical waters off the coast.

Most people know Ecuador as a biodiversity hotspot, and the node of Darwin’s theory of evolution, but not many people know about the massive ecological damage in the Ecuadorian Amazon. From 1964 to 1990, Texaco (now Chevron) drilled for oil in the northeastern Amazon of Ecuador. What has resulted from this oil drilling is major damage to the indigenous people in this area, as well as the terrain they live in. Flora and fauna alike have been majorly impacted. Cancer has spread almost infectiously through these indigenous groups; animals die daily; groundwater and rivers have been contaminated with oil; black vats of crude oil improperly disposed of sit in the forest, ignored and their existence denied by Chevron.

Four years ago, unaware of this, I watched the documentary, Crude, a film detailing the struggle of the indigenous people fighting to receive compensation for the damage the oil has done to their home. It was shocking to find out about an oil spill worse than the Exxon Valdez tragedy, yet I’d never heard about it. Soon after, I screened the documentary at my house for friends and family to try to spread the word about this oil spill in one of the most diverse places on earth. Even when Crude gained acclaim at a plethora of film festivals, and the indigenous groups fighting Chevron won their lawsuit against the corporation, still not many people know about this issue or the struggle the indigenous people of Ecuador still face in trying to receive the payment. Thus, after weeks of research, it seemed obvious what I needed to curate in the Reading Room.

This issue is personal as much as it is scientific; this issue matters to me not only as a scientist, as a human, but as an Ecuadorian. The diverse rainforests in Ecuador hold some of the most beautiful, intricate organisms on earth, and yet a chunk of that rainforest the size of Rhode Island is currently being ravaged by crude oil. What about the shiny, jewel-like Green-Gold Scarab Beetle (Chrysophora chrysochlora), the nimble jaguar (Panthera onca)? Without them, how will the local culture be affected? How will the ecosystem survive without the consumers, the decomposers, the highest and lowest trophic levels?

Research is hard. Dead ends are plentiful and reliable evidence sometimes hard to come by, but it is validating. Research allows one to communicate that which would be otherwise ignored for lack of evidence. Research is validating because with each article I read and new picture I find, I know that if one by one we become informed on issues that are covered up, pushed out of the limelight, and that require time and patience to fully understand we will have significantly more knowledge about important issues like the oil spill in Ecuador. By bringing this issue out of the shadows, we will be better informed on how to stop the degradation of the world’s biodiversity. Even faced with 61 pages of articles from my search of “crude oil AND Ecuador”, I triumphantly click the first article and begin reading.


Filed under: Exhibits,Library News,Research — Dsands @ 12:03 am

July 2, 2012

Wild Pig Smackdown

For the Illustration Smackdown explanation, click here.

From the Academy Archives:

wild boar illustrated by Michael Cole

This illustration of a wild boar was stumbled upon while looking for another image in the Academy’s oversized collection in the Archives. Little is known about how the image was used, but it came to us from our own Exhibits Department and was meticulously drawn by Michael E. Cole.


From Sands:

Sus scrofa (c)2012 Diane T Sands

The wild boar and the feral pig are considered the same species despite differences in height, weight and skull shape. I designed this illustration to highlight some of these anatomical anomalies. The skull on the left is a wild boar; the one on the right that of a feral pig.


More about
Sus scrofa:
Wild Boar, Feral Pig
The wild boar is native to Europe, but has been widely introduced as a game animal throughout the world. In North America, it has successfully interbred with escaped feral farm pigs. This has happened so much that most writings simply refer to Sus scrofa under the blanket term Wild Pigs. In California, these wild pigs run amok through open space land and regional parks. Omnivorous opportunists, they wander the landscape vacuuming up vegetation, and just about any other living thing in their path.

The females become sexually mature at 18 months of age, producing 6-10 young per litter, often having more than one litter per year. A large group of females and their recent young are called Sounders.  Adults can reach sizes over 750lbs. Males are usually solitary and can sharpen their tusks by rubbing the lowers against the uppers.

Here’s a great article about the infestation of wild pigs in the East Bay Regional Park District :
http://baynature.org/articles/oct-dec-2010/ground-invasion/?searchterm=feral%20pigs


Filed under: Archives,Library News,Research,Scientific Illustration,Smackdown — Dsands @ 11:54 am

June 18, 2012

Introducing the Illustration Smackdown.

Wrack Ball

Wrack Ball (c) Diane T Sands

In this corner…

The Academy Archives is part of the Academy Library, and includes material on the history of the institution, including scientific expeditions and research, Museum exhibits, building history, and general administrative history. The Archives also houses manuscript collections from our scientists and scientists related to the Academy. Manuscript collections are mainly comprised of field notes, unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, scientific illustrations, and photographs.

And in THIS corner…

Diane T Sands: When not working as the Collection Development Librarian here at the Academy Library, I do freelance illustration. I have been an active member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators for the last 15 years. I have created illustrations (scientific and otherwise) for the North American Diatom Symposium, The Annals of the Entomological Society of America, The Hudson Institute, KQED’s Mind/Shift blog, The Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association, California Wild Magazine, and the education department here at the Academy, among others. Not surprisingly, my interest in the Academy Archives and Rare Book Collection is peaked whenever there are illustrations involved.***

What better way to get acquainted with the Archives and all the wonders it holds than to pit my illustration skills against it? Enter the Illustration Smackdown

The way the Illustration Smackdown works.
Each month, the archive staff, will locate an illustration in the Archives during the course of their regular work. They will not show it to me. Instead they will provide me with two pieces of information;
1. The scientific name of the plant or animal featured.
2. Whether the piece in question is a field sketch or a finished illustration
I will then have two weeks to research the species and produce my own illustration. Then we will feature the two illustrations side by side here on From the Stacks for your viewing pleasure.

Stay Tuned Illustration Lovers!
Diane T Sands
Collection Development Librarian

*** Diane will be doing a live illustration demo during the Academy’s Nightlife on Thursday, June 28, 2012


June 13, 2011

Welcome to Richard and Stephanie, our summer Connecting Content interns

We are very excited to welcome the new Summer Connecting Content interns to the California Academy of Sciences. Although we are sad to see our Fall intern Josh Roselle leave, he has produced a great foundation for our incoming interns to build on.

Our Information Connections intern is Richard Fischer. Although his internship is with the California Academy of Sciences he will be working at our partner site, the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. and will be focused on establishing appropriate connections between digitized field books, natural history specimens and the published literature in the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Richard Fischer graduated from the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, City University of New York, in May 2011 with a Master of Library Science degree and a Certificate in Archives and Preservation of Cultural Materials. While working on his degree, Richard interned at the Louis Armstrong House Museum Archives, the New-York Historical Society Library Manuscript Division, and the American Museum of Natural History Research Library Special Collections and Archives. He was a Queens College Libraries Special Collections Fellow for the 2010-2011 academic year. Richard holds a BA in English from Rutgers University.

Our Collections Scanning intern is Stephanie Stewart Bailey. She will be working at the California Academy of Sciences and focusing on digitizing fieldnotes and specimens from the 1906/06 Galapagos exhibition for our pilot project.

Stephanie is an interdisciplinary artist pursuing a master’s thesis in museum studies, integrating art with science. Interested in the reuse of museum space through the representation of the physical human body, she strives to make museums accessible to everyone by the means of artistic installations and spaces like the Project Lab at the Academy of Sciences. By holding an internship with the Connecting Content team, she hopes to make connections with dedicated science professionals to further investigate the natural world with hands on experience. She is also excited to investigate possible educational strategies by interpreting this project for the public, through the glass wall of the Project Lab.
With a fascination for the natural world, Stephanie collects specimen from birds to insects and fossils, to incorporate in her artistic process.  She holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in photography and performance art and has worked at the Smithsonian and Göteborg Natural History Museums, and at the International Museum of Surgical Science, Chicago. She is currently a Museum Studies Graduate Student from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.  You can see some of her recent thesis work in natural history museums at http://thebodyappropriate.tumblr.com/


Filed under: Connecting Content,Library News — Archives & Special Collections @ 3:25 pm

April 22, 2011

Map Madness!

My name is Tristan Campbell, for the last two weeks I’ve been an intern in the library here at California Academy of Sciences. I’m in the last year of a three year Masters program in Library, Archives, and Information Sciences at the University of British Columbia, and one of the requirements of the program is a two week practicum/internship. Most people in the program do these at local institutions in Vancouver, but I was lucky enough that there is a UBC connection here through librarian Rebecca Morin who had a database project I could work on.

The quick answer that I give when people ask how I chose my Masters program, is that I want to connect people with information, preferably through computers, and ideally using open source software. So when the opportunity to build a database for the California Academy of Sciences Library using open source software came up I jumped on it.
I’ve spent my time here building a database for the map collection here in the library using USGS maps, and up until now access to them has been managed using hand written indexes prepared by a long-time volunteer. The amount of work that must have gone into hand writing those indexes is incredible, my job was to build a database that could use and preserve those indexes. The database is very much a work in progress, my time here was far too short to put all of the data from the indexes into the database, and there is some work to be done by a library volunteer before the whole system is complete. But the basic structure is there, and it will be very useful for providing access to the map collection.

Two weeks is far to short a time to spend at a place like this, but it has been quite an experience. The work environment could not be more supportive and positive, and the materials they have here are amazing. One day, just for a change of pace, I got to help turn the page of the Audubon on display in the Library reading room, amazing. I had pretty high expectations coming here, and the experience has been far better than I had hoped for. So huge thanks to Rebecca, the Library and Archives team, and everyone else at California Academy of Sciences who have been so good to me, I only wish it could have been for longer.


Filed under: Library News,Rare Books — Intern @ 3:29 pm
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